Woodwright has flourished over the past 35 years primarily because of our strong team of construction professionals all pulling in the same direction. From our office personnel, sales team, estimators, and manufacturing facility to our project management team and craftsman in the field… each person plays an integral role in our success.
One such member of the Woodwright team is our CNC and Laser specialist, or as we like to call him our “Resident Artist”, Aaron Craft. Aaron has been with Woodwright for over 16 years and has been honing his artist brain since he discovered his passion at an early age.
Born and raised in Irving TX, both of his parents worked in the engineering field. His father as a software engineer that designed and set up some of the first LAN systems in the DFW area.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Aaron about his life, his work, and his thoughts on the future of woodworking using CNC and laser design for this month’s Team Member Highlight.
When did you discover your passion for art and design?
From a very early age, I’ve been obsessed with creating things, it just felt like the natural thing to do. Drawing regularly by age five, I eventually started earning money in school, painting shirts and skateboards for my buddies.
I have always done art in my spare time and feel very fortunate to be able to showcase my creativity as a career.
It is said that if you do something that you love for a living, you will never work a day in your life. Been doing just that for many years at Woodwright.
How has the advancement of technology through CNC/Laser work assisted you in honing your craft?
I started working in wood in a small furniture shop making Louis IVX style carved furniture.
The owner decided a CNC router might speed up the process and it definitely did. I saw the potential in how this technology could be used and began training myself on these machines. Eventually, I convinced my father that we needed to invest in a small router and continue to learn together. We advanced our skills and took on some really cool jobs that grew our knowledge even further.
I learned my trade using traditional tools and as that evolved into more computer and CNC usage, it gave me an advantage over those learning today- or even some of the old-timers that are reluctant to change.
I like to say that I do old-world work with new world machines.
What inspires you most when it comes to your work?
When I can impress myself at the end of a project, that is what inspires me most!
I tend to try and bite off just a bit more than I can chew, knowing that I will figure it out in the end. That mentality constantly pushes me out of my comfort zone and helps me pull off things that I would have never tried before.
What are some of the most exciting changes you’ve seen in the past few years (specifically on commercial projects) using the newer technologies?
I personally like the integration of wood with other materials like stone or glass. At Woodwright, we are constantly working on concept samples that use mixed media and wood. I love to do R&D trying to find the right combination for aesthetics, durability, and feasibility.
Where do you see your skillset being using in commercial projects in the future?
I feel that guys like me can push the market way more than I can predict it.
With so many material options available it is challenging to tell clients what they want, besides that is the designer’s job. These days a new visual trend can start from a hit song.
What I try to do is continually develop new innovative designs that attract architects and designers to Woodwright custom capabilities.
What is your hope for the future of your craft?
The New CNC router Woodwright recently purchased is pretty much state of the art for now. I get excited when I see new machine combinations creating market potential.. such as 3D printing combined with routing tools.
We also just purchased our first 3D Printer so the possibilities seem endless at this point. I have a few small machines that I run at home. This is where I push the limits and figure out crazy new techniques.
Who are some of your artistic inspirations?
My inspiration comes from several sources.
In junior high, I found Robert Williams in a Thrasher skate magazine article, and my mind was blown. Crazy pop-surrealism with very wrong color combinations.
Williams introduced me to Juxtapoz magazine which is full of articles and heavy imagery from an underground culture. This was a pretty big turning point in my art.
I found Greg Simkins in Juxtapoz and have been completely fascinated by his style ever since. A modern master in my opinion.
There are not too many carvers out there to find. Most of my wood carving is based on the style of Grinling Gibbons (early 1700s). He did a lot of the churches and cathedrals in London.
Outside of your artistry what are some other passions you have?
One of my main passions is flying FPV drones. (First Person View) freestyle.
I wear a pair of goggles that receives a video signal from a camera on the drone. Basically, you are flying from inside the drone.
This is extremely exhilarating and very relaxing at the same time.
Good exercise too. I end up climbing a lot of trees and doing a lot of walking recovering crashed drones.
It gives me the opportunity to use most of my fabrication, electronics, and computer skills as well as keeping the hand-eye coordination up to par.
I love music! I love playing music. I have a few guitars and a very small but slowly expanding synthesizer collection. Finally, watching my son become an adult!
We do not take Aaron’s artistry and unparalleled skillset for granted. Combined with Woodwrights’ 35 years of expertise in the construction industry, we look forward to continuing to push the boundaries of design.
Wanna take your project to the next level (with Aarons help) or at least get the conversation started? Please contact your A+D representative using the “Find Your Rep” tool on our website. All we ask is that you dream a little and let us bring your vision to life.